A Driving Instructor's Blog

Bad Drivers

This time of year you get some real idiots on the roads. I’m not talking about boy racers, but middle-aged plus fossils who simply don’t know how to drive. To make matters worse, they usually have big 4x4s specifically to advertise how much money they’ve been able to borrow in order to get it. If only they’d spend some money on refresher lessons.

A good example came just now. I was doing a merge in turn just after a set of lights, and so as not to cut anyone up I was dropping back to merge behind a grey 4×4 in the lane next to me (registration number: FN15 CDK). In actual fact, this would have meant I was giving up my “turn” in front of the 4×4, who had accelerated away just fast enough to show that he was going to “fight” over the issue. At no point did the front of my car extend further forward than his rear bumper while this was happening, so it was obvious I was not in any way trying to get past him. I was freewheeling at about 15-20mph – no gas whatsoever – so he could make progress into the gap. The problem then was that just as the road narrowed the f***ing idiot slowed right down, forcing me to brake quite sharply as I found myself alongside him. He had no reason to do this – the cars in front had accelerated away, and there was a gap.

This, of course, gave him the opportunity to shake his head and explain to the woman sitting in the passenger seat next to him how great he was and also, no doubt, to utter the immortal phrase “[insert adjective] learners”.

He was a silver-hair, and these are among the worst drivers on our roads – irrespective of how many accidents they have. A minor accident was only avoided in this case by me taking evasive action. I have no idea what was going through his fossilised brain cells. He didn’t want me to get past him, that was clear. But having “won” he then proceeded to slow down unnecessarily. Quite possibly just to “make a point”.

Drivers – and especially older ones, who have difficulty in the brain department – need to understand the concept of “merge in turn”. When a road splits into two lanes at traffic lights, it is not a mandate for you to block both lanes or attempt to prevent anyone overtaking you at any cost (it’s actually illegal for you to do that). Nor is it a mandate to sit in the right hand lane and then pull away slower than everyone else (technically, that’s illegal these days, too). Yes, your aged grey matter is probably already thinking fixedly about boy racers going faster than you, but although they are also wrong if they break the speed limit or drive discourteously or dangerously, the simple fact that they’re younger than you and drive faster (both of which are liable to put you off your Horlicks) is not reason enough for you to get involved.

And if you can’t understand that, hand over your licence before you kill someone.

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Here’s a conundrum for you. Take a look at this Shell garage, which is situated on the A606 at Tollerton. Firstly, the aerial view.Shell, Tollerton - Aerial

You will notice that it has an entrance off the A606, and an exit round the back on to Tollerton Lane. Depending on which pump you’ve used, or where other people have laughingly done something they call “parking”, you drive through narrow gaps either side of the main building to reach the exit.

The A606 is a busy road, and especially so during rush hour, and that’s why there’s a dedicated entrance and exit. Anyone trying to turn out of the entrance either has to hope that three lanes (two southbound and one northbound) are clear, or that these lanes will stop and let them out. For people who are too stupid to realise that this isn’t likely to happen, and who would almost certainly try it if they could (sometimes, they still do), Shell has helpfully placed No Entry signs on the garage side of the entrance, like this:Shell, Tollerton - entrance

And on the road side of the exit, like this:Shell, Tollerton - exit

Getting back on to the A606 is actually very simple. All you do is turn right at the exit, wait at the traffic lights at the junction, and that’s it. The obvious drawback (if you are a prat) is that you may have to add up to 60 seconds to your journey.

The garage forecourt is compact, so even driving in normally and finding a pump is something you have to do carefully. Pissing about trying to get your fuel flap pump-side if there is no convenient pump available is a no-no. Driving off from the pumps to the exit is also something requiring care, because if the car park area at the back is full (it only holds about four cars), people start to park wherever the hell they want – and if that means blocking one of the passages either side of the main building, then that’s precisely what they’ll do.

So here’s your starter question for ten: what do you do if you’re an Audi driver who has turned into Tollerton Lane, and who has then decided that he wants to go into the garage?

Correct. You drive in via the exit.

And here are your bonus questions:

  1. Once you’re in, where do you go next? That’s right: you drive briskly the wrong way past the buildings to get to the forecourt without any consideration for those driving the correct way to leave the garage.
  2. When you get there, do you park next to a pump facing the opposite way to everyone else, or do you block those trying to get in as you engage in what bears a passing resemblance to a turn in the road so that you can get your fuel flap pump-side? A bit of a trick question, as both answers are acceptable. Most Audi drivers aren’t aware that the fuel line is on a reel, and will reach across to the other side, and of the very few who are aware, they don’t want to risk the hose touching their paintwork.
  3. If you’re facing the wrong way once you’ve filled up, do you now attempt to turn around or do you use the entrance as an exit? Yes, another trick question, with both answers being correct. The typical Audi driver has the social conscience of a dog on a croquet lawn and attempting to turn right across three lanes of busy traffic using a forbidden exit is just as viable as blocking everyone while he turns his oversized pratmobile in a confined space.

I saw this happen last week, when a white Audi A8 caused my pupil to have to brake sharply as we turned into Tollerton Lane as he pondered his next move when confronted with the No Entry sign on Tollerton Lane.

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Well, the “Desreen’s Law” petition is closing in on 200,000 signatures in less than a week! Let’s just look at a sample of some very important posts people have made.

My grandfather is 90 and still driving despite having early onset dementia. The family have tried to intervene, reason with him and spoken with his GP. At the moment there is very little anyone can do to stop him driving; he is so stubborn but nobody has the power to force him to stop…

my 90 year old father in law nearly killed a cyclist – he had very poor vision, was deaf and had slow reactions. He refused to surrender his licence as it was ‘his independence’. My neighbours 85 yr old mother demolished a garden wall and 2 other cars – she mistook the accelerator for the brake and I was on duty in A/E on the day an elderly driver killed a 2 year old boy and maimed his father by driving over a sea wall – again an automatic car and misjudgement with lack of reactions. Finally, my husband was ‘rear ended’ just 2 weeks ago by an 82 year old lady driver, still accelerating when she hit him. He was stationary in the road, indicating to turn right when clear. Her excuse for writing off her car and his was that she had been driving that road for nearly 50 years and “no-one usually stops there to turn right” (into our own driveway incidentally!). My husband still has whiplash. Each driver filled in a ‘tick box’ form by DVLA at 70 stating they were fit to drive…

I would sign this petition a thousand times over if I could. On the 22nd of December last year, my Dad was killed in a motorbike accident. A 90 year old male, had failed to see him when turning into a junction, and cross right in front of my Dad’s path, causing him to die instantly. After months of waiting and trials, he had his license taken from him and a suspended sentence. Because of his age they didn’t send him down. For myself and my family no sentence will ever be enough. I am the eldest of his four children, the youngest was 5 when it happened. He also left behind my mum, who hasn’t been the same since…

We just had an incident in Edinburgh where an OAP was reported driving 4 miles the wrong side of a local motorway narrowly missing 2 head on collisions and had absolutely no idea of the situation…

My own mother was a blustering older driver – with many recent minor accidents (all that could have been worse) – when I would ask her to consider giving-up driving – the response was anger and waffle about freedom – but when she declared she had MS – the DVLA said she would have to re-test – she quietly did not bother proceeding – leading me to make the conclusion she KNEW she was no longer ‘up to it’…

Our eight year old son was killed by a 74 year old driver who we believe was banned because he suffered epileptic fits and was trying out his friend’s new car. As no witnesses came forward his friend took the call, said he was driving and that our son was the one at fault…

My grandad passed when he was 96,but didnt give up the car until he was 90, he was still driving even when it would endanger him and others around him. In his mind, he was able and young, but his body was the opposite. After countless family disputes he eventually gave up the car, under the condition that my dad drove them to get shopping/appointments…

As an older driver I am well aware that my reactions are not what they were. I plan to stop driving in the New Year, I shall be 66…

Someone who I know was killed by an oap driving out of his drive onto a main road so I fully support this…

When my husband was diagnosed with dementia it was our responsibility to inform DVLA which we did, many don’t. Something has to be changed…

As a serving firefighter I have been to several incidents where the elderly driver has been at fault and killed themselves or others…

I’m signing because I am 66 and I am fully aware that my reactions are slowing down especially at night…

I work in Traffic Management and elderly drivers cause most of the problems due to poor sight and reactions…

As a GP it is often left to me to work out which older drivers are safe or not to drive. I have no special training for this task. Older people who are no longer fit to drive often lack insight into this and their families also collude with them on this issue in my experience… As age increases reaction times and awareness can decrease and so I believe that proper retesting is essential for the safety of everyone.

A friend of a friend died in a similar situation leaving behind a wife and a young child and dying too young…

I saw my Dad’s driving as he aged, and yes, he was a danger in his latter days. Older drivers must be tested for the their, and everyone else’s safety…

With the help of my brother and putting a lot a pressure on my dad’s GP, I got his driving licence taken away from him. He is 87 frail but then got a diagnosis of vascular dementia. I work in the memory clinic I knew he was no longer capable. It was a very difficult decision but I could not have forgiven myself if something like that had happened…

My best friends brother was killed while riding his bike home from work by an 89 year old driver. The consequences are devastating…

I had to stop my father from driving because of his condition (Vascular Parkinsonism). He was 86. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but I’d do it again in a heartbeat…

My husband and 2 daughters were nearly wiped out on the M4 motorway earlier this year. An elderly lady pulled out and caused my husband to make an evasive action…

I know two drivers who both have serious health problems and are determined to keep driving despite having had recent accidents…

I have a neighbor who as dementia and has had it for a year,he has still been driving,Just been assessed because of this,Been waiting weeks for the results,His wife a none driver has been going out with him,Due to family pressures and me speaking up about me concerns,He has stopped,But car is still outside the house,I believe he is 72…

In dec 2011 my mother was knocked down and seriously injured .. She spent 9 days on life support and a bleed to the brain .. Her calf muscle was ripped off her leg and she had to be given cpr as her heart stopped 3 times .. This happened because a car mounted the pavement and knocked her down .. The driver was 82 years of age and hit the accelerator instead of the brake on his Aston Martin!!!! .. He was fined £480 and banned for life .. My mother has to live with her injuries for the rest of her life…

An elderly driver fell asleep mounted the pavement injuring my son and sister in law. My mother in law was killed…

Ma family was killed on the A1 near Gosforth because an elderly driver went up the wrong way on the opposite carriage…

My mum-in-law has dementia. Dementia has robbed her of her reasoning abilities. I had to disable her car to stop her from driving. Neither the DVLA nor the GP would help…

Fortunately my neighbour escaped such a tragedy. An elderly man accelerated and mounted the pavement just outside her house where she was with her children. Thankfully it was only the wall he destroyed…

Regular readers will know that I have a strong opinion regarding older drivers and their frequently flawed self-assessment of their abilities. But I must say that even I was taken aback by the scale of the problem represented by these quotations. And these are just sampled from the first hundred or so posts made within the last two hours! There are thousands more.

My own father is now nearly 90. He suffers from macular degeneration and can hardly see properly at all anymore. About 15 years ago, when his condition wasn’t as advanced (though his eyesight was still seriously impaired), he wanted to go down to Portsmouth to see the tall ships. He asked if he could borrow my car – at the time he was still self-assessing himself as fit to drive, though he hadn’t actually driven since shortly after he retired. I refused point blank, which upset him. But then I found out he was planning to hire a van to drive down there (and to sleep in – all the hotels were fully booked). I told him straight that if he hired any vehicle I would immediately report him to the police! He didn’t go, and shortly after that he admitted to me that he had decided that he couldn’t see well enough and had decided not to renew his licence.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who can understand just how fine a line there was between him driving and not driving (or rather, attempting to drive) a 400 mile round trip. I shiver when I think how many times a similar scenario must get played out – and how many times the outcome will be different to the one involving my dad.

That’s why we need “Desreen’s Law”.

A handful of people commenting on the petition have said it is ageist.

This is soooo ageist, I dont want to sign it thank you…

I find this petition out of order and blaming elderly drivers when the percentage of accidents causing death is far higher among young inexperienced drivers…

These people are idiots. Really, they are. Young people causing problems because they are prats is not the same as old people causing problems because they are physically and mentally incapable of handling a car anymore. Nor does the fact that an elderly driver not being able to drive anymore, so your nan or grandpa won’t be able to come and see you as easily, make it a bad idea to introduce re-testing.

Some commenters have trotted out the old “re-test everybody” mantra. Although I personally wouldn’t have a problem with that, it would be physically impossible to implement. However, it side-steps the core issue of older drivers having health problems which are entirely age-related.

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I don’t want to hijack the Desreen’s Rule post, but I was reading Benjamin Brooks-Hutton’s blog and there is one thing he says (as do some of the commentators) which he (and the commentators) are absolutely and utterly wrong about.

If an elderly driver is found guilty of dangerous driving – and especially if they cause death by dangerous driving – they deserve to go to jail for it. This is even more true if they purposely lied in order to stay on the roads.

I’m sorry, Ben, but they do. They are as guilty as a 17-year old would be. And they deserve a sentence of the same duration as the 17-year old would get.

Geoffrey Lederman showed no remorse, and made every attempt to get out of being prosecuted (causing even more pain than would otherwise have been experienced by Ben Hutton). Although little has been made of it, he claimed to have had “an episode” – in my books, given the evidence and the outcome of the trial, that is what is known in the civilised world as “a lie”. A straightforward case therefore took over two years to be dealt with. Lederman could have been put away for 14 years, but he got a very modest 18 months.

Mr Hutton is obviously still struggling to come to terms with what happened, whereas Lederman is almost certainly now back on the streets again (or will be within weeks). Since we know he tried to get out of the charges and showed no remorse, it doesn’t take much to imagine how he’s doing at the moment – and I’d lay odds that it’s not as bad for him as it is for Mr Hutton. Nor should Mr Hutton forget that Lederman came within millimetres of killing both him and his son, not to mention the fact that he ruined the life of Amy Werner, and very nearly the lives of five more pedestrians who he didn’t see (though I suspect that what they witnessed has hardly left their lives untarnished).

Lederman deserved to go to jail. He is very, very lucky he didn’t go there for longer.

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As I mentioned in my last article, there is a petition now open demanding a change in the Law so that elderly drivers are forced to undergo proper re-testing once they reach 70 years of age.Desreen Brooks with husband Benjamin

This petition was set up by Benjamin Brooks-Dutton, whose wife was killed by an elderly driver who got the brake and gas pedals mixed up and accelerated into her as she walked with him and their young son. He also inflicted permanent brain damage and the loss of sight in one eye to an American student, Amy Werner, who was also in his path.

This blog contains numerous examples of elderly drivers causing death or injury as a direct result of their age, and the fact that they have often lied about their health in order to retain their licences.

Please sign the petition, and pass it on to as many of your friends as you can. It is vital that the government starts listening to sense instead of the voices of those whose votes it might lose if it took action. There is a semi-permanent link on the right of the page which I will keep live as long as the petition is live.

We need Desreen’s Law now.

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Please note that there is a petition open for signing over at Change.org. I’m going to put a separate article up to emphasise this. And thanks to blog reader “Sam” who brought all of this to my attention.


Regular readers will know that I have no sympathy for older drivers who end up killing or maiming people as a direct result of their age and deteriorating physical capabilities. Only last week I wrote about a 98-year old who was complaining that his insurance premium had gone up as a result of his age, and in that article I mentioned how a few weeks before that an 87-year old had got himself on to the M1 on the wrong carriageway near Nottingham and killed both himself and the passenger of another vehicle after he collided head on with them.Desreen Brooks and her son Jackson

A few days later I wrote about an 82-year old woman who had gone missing in fog and instead of completing a 4 mile journey in perhaps 15 minutes, had been discovered by police 6 hours later 50 miles away, having taken a a route that utilised several very busy (and foggy) motorways. Thank God that she was recaptured before she could hurt anyone.

But this story had gone under my radar. It happened in 2012 and involved a young mother being killed when an 83-year old drove into her as she pushed her two-year old son in his pushchair. Another pedestrian was also left with permanent brain damage and the loss of sight in one eye.

That was 2012, remember. There is then a huge gap of more than 2 years until the next update appears anywhere. Geoffrey Lederman, the 83-year old in question, along with his lawyers had apparently been delaying the case going to court, trying to get it thrown out based on his “anxiety” and “stress”. However, once it got there it was the usual tale of an older driver in an automatic car getting confused about the brake and gas pedals, hitting the wrong one, and not having the capabilities to switch to the correct one instead. Lederman failed to see NINE pedestrians on the pavement as he mounted it at an average speed of 54mph (this was in a 30mph zone in West Hampstead, London). It also became clear that Lederman had defective eyesight and had previously suffered a stroke. The report I have linked to here also notes that:

Moments before the crash he had stopped to check his car after ‘nudging’ a pizza delivery man before carrying on his way, the court heard.

Mr Kark [prosecutor] said: ‘He said he lost control soon after that, within seconds he seemed to be on the wrong side of the road going at almost racing car speed.

‘He was tugging on the handbrake with no effect.’

In the minutes before the crash Lederman’s Mercedes was seen revving loudly for up to ten seconds as it sat stationary outside West Hampstead Underground Station.

So, he’d actually hit someone only minutes earlier and had been revving for some reason just prior to that!

There was no mechanical fault with the car, and investigators found that Lederman had mistakenly kept his foot on the gas pedal thinking it was the brake before driving off and causing this.

Mr Kark said: ‘It may be that when Geoffrey Lederman engaged the drive gear when he believed he was pressing the brake or hadn’t realised the car had slipped into neutral.’

At this point in time (2014), Lederman was expected to claim that he’d had some sort of seizure.

In December 2014, Lederman was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and sentenced to 18 months in prison. He was also banned from driving for life. It’s worth pointing out that Lederman will probably be out of jail by now, though Mrs Brooks is still dead, and her son still has no mother. You have to read different versions of this latest story to piece together a true picture of what Lederman has put Mr Brooks-Dutton (Desreen’s husband) and Jackson through.

Lederman had been to a 7-hour bridge tournament and was driving home in the dark (it was a Saturday evening in early November). His defence team did indeed try to get the case thrown out on the grounds that Lederman had suffered “an episode” and could not be accountable for his actions. When that appeal failed, two doctors testified that it was “unfair” to try an old man who was now suffering mental health problems as a result of the accident.Fortunately, the judge was having none of it, and he accused the defence team of “holding a gun to the court’s head”. There is no mention of whether the two “doctors” were struck off – they damned well should have been.

Lederman has shown no signs of remorse at any time during proceedings (which have lasted more than two years).

Dr Jonathan Beckett, an expert in old age psychiatry at the private Nightingale Hospital in Marylebone, told the court that Mr Lederman’s mental health had deteriorated rapidly in the run-up to the trial and he had become very anxious.

He said: “He is also a very proud man who has led an unblemished life. He has a very strong moral code. The fact that he would be here in the court being tried in this way… he would have to view himself as a liar.”

Tom Kark QC, prosecuting, said during the appeal: “He is apparently able to conduct his life relatively normally… The court cannot be blackmailed into not trying serious crimes.”

Judge Clarke said: “Do you think that his concern about the destruction [of his reputation] is even greater than his concern that he has caused someone’s death? Does he not regard himself as having any duty towards the next of kin of the woman [Desreen Brooks]?

If ever anything bad happens to me, I want Tom Kark on my side.

Please sign the petition over at Change.org to lobby for compulsory retesting of drivers when they reach 70. I’m dubbing it “Desreen’s Law”, along the lines of “Cassie’s Law” (Cassie McCord was 16 when she was killed by an 87-year old). That petition was successful – let’s hope this one is, too.

It needs a loud voice from the public. Remember that these aged time bombs constitute a significant proportion of the voting population and their political allegiances would, I suggest, make this current government somewhat reluctant to upset them in any way. But the government cannot ignore the majority if that majority is large enough.

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Please note that all my “Darwin Awards” posts are my own take on situations and have no connection with any real award. I just like the term, as it describes people who are idiots very appropriately.


I went into Asda on Saturday at around 6pm, and as I was about to reverse into what I thought was an empty bay, I discovered this example of superb parking.KT03 DJJ - Silver Vaushall Astra

A silver Vauxhall Astra, reg. no. KT03 DJJ, had been parked so that it was effectively occupying FOUR bays.

As I say, this was at around 6pm on the nearest Saturday to Bonfire Night, so the car park was very busy. Clearly, the driver – apart from being a few olives short of a pizza – is one of those people who has just about as much social conscience as a dog on a croquet lawn.

If any newspapers want the original, full-size image, here it is.

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Please note that all my “Darwin Awards” posts are my own take on situations and have no connection with any real award. I just like the term, as it describes people who are idiots very appropriately.


Sometimes, your faith in British justice gets a shot in the arm. This story is a good example of just such a shot.Speedo reading 192mph

It helps if you understand just how fast 192mph really is, because then you start to realise just what sort of value Shaun Davis (and his 23-year old daughter, Jordan) put on anyone’s lives except their own.

At such a speed, Davis would have been travelling more than 3 miles every minute. To put that into figures that the average reader might comprehend, he would be travelling more than 85 metres every second – or about 20 car lengths. If he’d have had to stop, even under ideal conditions it would have taken him about 620 metres (around 140 car lengths).

If you’re still not clear on what this means, 620 metres is more than the length of five football pitches. 

However, the distances involved are academic, since initiating an emergency stop at that speed would most likely have resulted in a catastrophic accident. It is simply too far outside the range of human reaction times, and the capabilities of vehicle parts (i.e. tyres on roads). Recording it on a handheld device would make it a hundred times worse.

Shaun Davis appears to be one of those people you’d have reservations about if he moved in next door. It appears that every inch of his body below the neck line is tattooed, and he has a penchant for fast cars. It was that penchant for speed that proved his undoing. You see, Davis – who was the kind of person to get arrested on an unrelated matter – had videoed himself driving at very high speed in several fast cars using his smartphone. Whatever the other reason was for his arrest, it was deemed serious enough for police to examine his phone, and it was then that the videos came to light.

In the video footage, Jordan Davis (his daughter) can be heard egging him on, and for that she earns herself a nomination for the Chav Category of the 2015 Darwin Awards.

Davis, who apparently showed no remorse and who denied all charges, was jailed for 28 months, banned from driving for 10 years, and ordered to take an extended re-test. His daughter, who he had obviously brought up to be just as soulless, and for whom the fact that she was even accused of anything let alone found guilty must have come as a major surprise, was banned for 2 years and given an 18-month conditional discharge.

I’m sure that the Davises will find this assessment harsh, because it’s a sad indictment on our society that a great many people who break Laws often aren’t even aware that those Laws exist. Even more worrying, though, is that they often don’t care. So we can only hope that this is seen as a wake-up call and not something to be proud of.

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A few days ago I wrote about how a 98-year old man had been quoted £20,000 to renew his car insurance. The do-good organisations are naturally up in arms over it, suggesting that he should be allowed to drive without any restrictions. I also pointed out how there was recently a fatal crash in Nottinghamshire after an 87-year old managed to get on the wrong side of the M1 at 2am one morning and collided with a van, killing himself and the passenger in the van.Elderly People road sign

Then this story came in on the newsfeeds. In this case, 82-year old Sheila Fitzgerald set out on a 4 mile journey from Ormskirk to Rainford, in Merseyside, in foggy conditions. She was reported missing, and was found six hours later by police 50 miles away in Gisburn. She apparently “took a wrong turning in the fog and became confused”.

Once we’re through with the Mail’s saccharin-sweet appraisal of the “extraordinary journey”, it is worth noting that in her “confusion” Mrs Fitzgerald had accidentally driven on to the M58, then the M6, then the M65, then the M6 again, before finally getting on to the A59 and travelling in exactly the opposite direction to her home location for about 25 miles. She didn’t have a bloody clue where she was! The entire journey would have taken about an hour – maybe an hour and half allowing for the weather – with an average driver. Mrs Fitzgerald took six hours, remember, and yet when questioned she believed she’d only “been driving for about 20 minutes” and was “just finding her way home”.

Thinking back to the 87-year old and his innocent victim who were killed after driving the wrong way up the M1, you can only shudder to think at what could have happened if fate had been less kind to Mrs Fitzgerald and all those other drivers on the Merseyside motorways that foggy night.

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This article is from 2011, but it has had a run of hits lately.


At the time of the original article (2011) I had noticed on one of the forums that someone was saying they’d heard that from next year (2012) it will be an offence to park too far from the kerb (or next to dropped kerbs), and you’ll be fined depending on how far away you are.Parking ticket on windscreen

That person was a little behind the times. As long ago as 2009 some councils were enforcing parking distances (and this is just one such story from the same year, where 50cm is the maximum allowed distance). But even this feeds off a story on the BBC from early 2008, The new laws came into force on 31st March 2008!

As an aside, in that first link a clown of a councillor (Alistair Thompson, Conservative) says:

It is utterly ludicrous to expect our traffic wardens to go around measuring how close people are parked to the kerb.

What about people with wheelchairs or Zimmer frames that need a space to get out of the car?

Yes Alistair, old chap. Including those people. Just because you are infirm doesn’t mean you can go around behaving in a way which is likely to cause inconvenience, and possibly injury or death in the right circumstances, to others. Parking in the middle of the road is stupid, ignorant, and dangerous – whether you have a Zimmer frame or not. 

The Traffic Management Act (2004) (TMA) is a detailed document, but the version here contains all amendments which have not yet been approved.

The thing is, even under existing laws (and that includes those that were existing before 31st March 2008), it has pretty much always been an offence to park “inconsiderately”, with the police having tow-away powers in order to deal with it. I have always told my pupils that parking more than 18 inches (or 45 centimetres) away from the kerb is too far, and since I read the stories several years ago about councils enforcing it I have added “you could get a parking ticket” to my explanation.

Let’s face facts here: 50cm is half a metre. It isn’t a parking position in any shape or form – it’s in the middle of the road where most people would be driving, and it is extremely inconsiderate to leave your car there, not to mention dangerous. I’m not sure if the TMA specifically mentions 50cm, or if that’s a limit set by the councils when applying the TMA to inconsiderate parking. To be honest, I don’t care – though I’m sure plenty of people out there will.

Can you get a fine for parking too far from the kerb?

Yes.

How far is too far?

I don’t know the exact figure, though 50cm keeps cropping up. A story from a few years ago (which I cannot find) reported wardens out with tape measures making sure no one was more than 18 inches (45 cm) away. If you “park” anywhere near that far away from the kerb – which amounts to not even moving closer to it when you stop – you really do deserve a fine!

Why do people park so badly?

They do it because they are bad drivers who can’t control the car properly. I can’t imagine that anyone would park like that on purpose. Can you?

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